Bacon Apple Pie

I went to a friend’s party last night while Chuck was at the BU game.  The potluck was themed as such:

  • Any savory dish with meat in it must have bacon as a component.
  • Any savory dish without meat must have red peppers as a component.
  • Any sweet desert must have apple as a component.
  • Dishes with alcohol involved get one automatic extra point.
  • Cheating is encouraged and will be rewarded.

I have a penchant for baking, but what if I combine some of these categories?  Obviously my apple dessert contained bacon.

OBVIOUSLY.

Here’s my pie crust recipe.    Well, Actually, my SIL found it in an old pie cookbook.  Still, it’s a fab recipe.

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I know it seems like adding water to the fat wouldn’t work, but if you truly add boiling water and whisk it quickly, you get a beautful lard slurry that becomes a light, tasty, flaky pie crust.

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Lard already has a hearty meaty scent to it.  It seems natural to add bacon.

I cooked up a half pound of thick-cut bacon and crumbled it up.  Half of that went into my pie crust.

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I used Cortland apples.  These are firm, white, tart apples.  I use very small, fine pieces of apple in my pie.

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The crumble is the magical part of this pie.  I don’t mix any flour or seasoning into the apples themselves.  Instead, I use my pastry cutter to blend flour, butter, and sugar (and in this case I used brown sugar and added the remaining bacon crumbles!) and douse the pie.  As the pie bakes, the crumble crisps on the top and some melts into the pie, thickening the juices as the apples bake.

 The pie is done when it’s  bubbling.

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I won a bottle of Kraken.

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Painty Painty!

I’m not blocked; I have just been busy with other stuff.  Like Pinterest, Netflix, and family stuff.  Nothing serious.  Oooh, I had one job interview.  Haven’t heard yea or nay on that yet, so that’s good.

It’s hard to get into a pattern of behaviors and tasks when one is unemployed.  I find that things just slip through my fingers and suddenly I have spent all day making my Sims grow tomatoes.  A definite weakness upon which I promise to improve.

One thing I did recently was I helped my brother move.  Moving is an integral part of the twenty-something lifestyle.  As we grow older, we tend to become less migratory and sometimes we even establish ourselves enough to be able to afford movers. A more common milestone at my age is having enough stuff to move that a truck rental is necessary.  We all have that list of pals who we have helped in the past and now owe us a favor or two.  When the time comes, we call in favors and ask friends with pickups, painting experience, or just nothing better to do to come over and spend the weekend moving.  If you are like me, you also have a huge family that may not even call in the owed favors.

I like to imagine that when we get together to do something constructive or creative, my siblings and I form a small but effective work force called the Handy Dandy Sibling Construction Company.  Together we can garden, paint, move, design, decorate, bake, and cook our way to a magnificent display of craftsmanship and old-fashioned know-how.  For all that I spent most of my childhood wishing I was an only child, I appreciate the way I can mesh my skills with those of my very different but very similar brothers and sisters.  Like most siblings, we each have unique personalities and interest, but the commonality that occurs among us is unique to large families.  We were raised in the same way by the same parents in very tight quarters; we can almost read each other’s minds as we negotiate our tasks and chat to catch up.

So, my middle little brother, Jed, moved last week and neglected to ask for a lot of help.  He called in favors to friends but not to family.  Actually, I found out about the move because his wife posted something on Facebook.  (sidenote: Facebook is an excellent tool for stalking family)  Jed helped Chuck and me move a few years ago, and he has also used a shovel quite a bit around my property, so I guess I sort of owe him.  It’s natural enough for me to demand that my younger sibling drop everything to help me when I need them; that’s just how big sisters are.  Plus, Jed is pretty much the biggest workhorse I know.  He’s huge, strong, good-natured, and smart.  It’s hard to believe we are full-blooded siblings, really.

Summer 2011: My tall, thin, hairy, blond-haired, blue-eyed little brother Jed and me (with crazy eyes). His beard is worse now.  Ke$ha would be all over him.

I suppose I felt guilty about always using Jed’s muscles, and also a bit bored and useless since I am unemployed, so I volunteered to pitch in.  Jed and his wife hated their old apartment – a dim basement hole with little light and no charm.  My brother’s new rental is awesome and as I am handy with a paintbrush/terribly lazy when it comes to lifting and hauling, I immediately volunteered to help paint.  The dining room is red so I ended up with a Dexter manicure.  Pretty sweet.

Then we painted the den/craft room with a taped-off chair rail look.  My SIL Alice, Jed’s wife, is very crafty so the room needed to be inspiring.  It took all day, but I think she likes it.  Also, I helped move furniture around and told embarrassing stories about my brother when he was not there.  As is customary, I was provided with food (Thai, Taco Bell, and pizza!) in return for my help.  Overall, it was not a bad way to spend my day.  Much better than going to two football games with Chuck.

……………..

Painting for Jed made me reminisce about my oldest little brother’s last move, too.  As I was painting the den in Jed’s new home, I recounted this conversation between Jon, his wife Angela, and me:

Angela: I want the living room to be red and tan, with a white chair rail.  Can you help me pick out the shades of paint?

Me:  Of course!

Angela: Should we put the red on top or on the bottom?

Me: Your couch is red, so I would say the red paint should be on the top.

Jon: I read on the internet that if you have a darker color on the top half of the walls, it makes the room seem smaller and the ceiling seem lower.

Me: It’s your living room, not a palace ballroom.

Angela: Trust your sister.  She is right.  We will buy the paint and the chair rail tomorrow when you are at work.

Jon: Chair rail was invented to protect the plaster walls in dining rooms from being dented by chairs being pushed into them.  The living room does not need chair rail because it is not a dining room and we have drywall, not plaster.

Angela and me:  Shut up.

Jon says he does not understand the chair rail but he also freely admits that aesthetics are lost on him. Good thing he is so easy-going!

Xoxoxoxo I love my brothers and their wives!

A Post About Boating, OR, Kutztown at BU

Last Saturday was Kutztown at Bloomsburg.  Instead of going to that game, I went to the boat.

I have to do a post to explain boating.

But first I have to explain what boats meant to me before I was a boater.

Before I was a boater, boats were canoes.  Canoes are just another way you can die while camping. Canoes are scary. Boats that are not canoes are scary, too.  Ever see the Godfather? And fishing, which is what you do in boats when you are camping, is boring.  And fresh-caught trout for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, is disgusting.  I like eating fish now, but only fish I didn’t have to catch and gut.  I’m all about farm to table and low-impact food and buying local produce, but if I ever buy half a steer, I’m not going to butcher it.

Being one of seven children, I rarely experienced a hotel or motel until I was on the high school debate team.  We usually camped.   The first camping trip I remember was our trip Out West when I was four.  Mom packed me and my brother Jon (then two) into our Plymouth Voyager and caravanned cross-country with two other vehicles carrying my grandparents, Aunt Mary (mom’s baby sister, who at the time would have been nine at the time), one of my uncles, and some friends.  Like a bunch of hippies we spent three weeks driving for miles to camp in the wilderness of Colorado, Utah, and Arizona, eating the fish we caught and only using flushing toilets when we stopped for gas or visited relatives.  I remember having a blast, but I think my camping experiences went downhill once hot showers became a priority.

Throughout the years we camped at the beach and in the mountains, with family and with friends, mostly in Delaware and Pennsylvania but occasionally we trekked to the Outer Banks or Out West again.  We even camped at my grandparents’ house! I learned how to braid my hair to hide the grease if we didn’t have showers.  Once, I ate nothing but fish and peanut butter and honey sandwiches and raspberry breakfast bars for three weeks.  Bug bites, sunburn, being almost eaten by a bear, twisted ankles and torturous climbs to see pretty waterfalls  (as in, they all pretty much look the same, people!) have turned me into a disappointing non-enthusiast for camping.

Of course, I’m talking about TENT camping.  While I longingly ached for more than a sleeping bag on the cold ground, people known as “Not Real Campers” had travel trailers, fifth wheels, and motorhomes parked in the camping space next to ours.  It was like they were rubbing my nose in it!  They have TV and power and soft cushions on which they can rest.  I guess, since everyone I knew back then thought sleeping on rocks was awesome.  It’s not like I got to go into those vehicles or anything.

My Father-In-Law has a boat. Now I’m a boater.  When Chuck and I first met almost 10 years ago, I fell in love with boating.  These boats have big engines in them and you can use them as transportation, like a car.  They have flushing toilets, showers, and some even have bathtubs!  The beds have mattresses and the windows have curtains, but unlike a hotel, your view is always waterfront.  In the slip, you have cable and internet.  Everything even has cute nautical names like “head” and “galley.”  I’ve been on a boat with a dishwasher in the kitchen and chandeliers in the dining room!

When I first went on one of these boats, I immediately thought of those “Not Real Campers” in their RVs.  They are quite similar.  When you go camping, you can camp in a tent or you can camp in a recreational vehicle.  When you go boating, you can boat in a canoe or you can boat in a powerboat.  Obviously you know which one I would choose.

…….

Okay, so blah blah blah, my husband went to a football game and then did even more football stuff, and I went to the boat.  I just wanted to be sure you understood that I was NOT camping on the water.  Here is the awesome stuff I did on the boat:

  • Read more of A Dance with Dragons.  I guess I am dragging it out because I know it will be an eternity until the next book is published.
  • Did the puzzles in the newspaper.  I like the Jumble and the Crypto-Quip.  The answer is always a pun.
  • Went to a catered dinner at the Nauti Goose.  Again, I love puns.  We met new friends and saw old friend and had some very good food.
  • Took a sunset cruise and watched the sun go down while we slowly rode around on the bay.
  • Back in the slip, my FIL “practiced his religion” (this means he watched college football -the apple does not fall far from the tree) while I shared drinks and cookies with more friends old and new.
  • In the morning, we took another long boat ride.
  • Went out for “lupper” on Sunday at a new place in town called The Port House Grill.  I had the Southwest with a side of their fresh fries.  I gobbled it up so fast it was embarrassing.  Yum!

I took this picture on a sunset cruise a few years ago.